My husband’s sister is a vegetarian. She was long before it was popular. She didn’t stop eating meat for health reasons, but rather because she is an animal lover. At first she continued to eat fowl and fish, but a few years ago she stopped eating anything that “had a face.” She still eats dairy, but she’ll only eat eggs from free-roaming chickens.
Apparently it’s okay to eat a soon-to-be chicken as long as the hen wasn’t penned up when she laid it. To me, it’s still cradle-robbing and the chickens know it. Have you ever gone into a chicken coop to gather eggs? I have, and it was verrry scarrry. It was dark and dusty. The chickens were sitting on their nests staring at me angrily, clucking under their breath. I gingerly reached up and stuck my hand under a chicken. She squawked and flapped her wings and I ran for the house. We had oatmeal for breakfast that morning.
I know my sister-in-law eats cheese and milk, but I’ve never asked her about that. If the chickens have to be free-roaming, then one would assume the cows would have to be hand-milked. I can’t imagine it would be okay to drink milk from an “assembly-line” cow whose teats have been hooked up to some big mechanical sucking device. All I know is, she puts Half-n-Half in her coffee and I just buy it straight off the shelf at the supermarket.
As long as I’ve known her, she has always had two dogs. This past year her beloved beagle-mix died and now she only has one, Tulip Jane. She used to feed her dogs dog food made with meat because it was “only natural”; but, alas, poor Tulip Jane is now on a vegetarian diet too. Sister-in-law assured us that “Tulip likes it!” as she set the bowl in front of her. I guess it’s possible that Tulip always eats very slowly and tentatively, but I couldn’t help wondering if she’d be gulping down Dog Chow or Alpo.
At Thanksgiving, sister-in-law donates money to save a turkey from certain death and presents us all with a picture. Sorry, but each year the turkey looks just like the one from last year. Guess I’m a cynic, but I can see some con man making a tidy little profit here. So far it hasn’t discouraged the rest of us from enjoying a traditional Thanksgiving meal. We are sensitive enough to slice the turkey in the kitchen before taking it to the table so sister-in-law doesn’t have to look at the dead carcass.
One Thanksgiving a few years ago, after dinner my husband and I, his parents, his sister, and her boyfriend were sitting in the living room talking. (My son was smart; he went off to watch TV.) Somehow the conversation turned to salmon and how it looks totally different before it’s cooked. Sister-in-law interjected that she couldn’t understand how we could all claim to be animal lovers and still eat meat. I started to point out that we don’t eat dogs and cats, but my husband beat me to the punch and said, “Oh, that reminds me of a joke! It’s about a 2-legged pig.” I grabbed his arm and hissed under my breath “Don’t do it”, but there was no stopping him. He continued:
A man was driving down a country road when he came to a farm with a 2-legged pig in the front yard. Being curious he stopped and asked the farmer what had happened to the pig. The farmer replied, “Well sir that is one special pig. One day my son fell in the creek and that pig busted through the pen and jumped in the creek and pulled Johnny to safety.” “Is that how he lost his legs?,” asked the man.
“Nope. But after that, we let him sleep in the house at night. Well sir, one night our house caught on fire and that pig managed to wake us all up just in time. He saved us all.” “Is that how he lost his legs?,” asked the man.
“Nope,” said the farmer, “but you can’t eat a special pig like that all at once.”
My husband sat there with a devilish grin on his face waiting for the reaction. His mom and dad scolded him, I groaned, boyfriend chuckled. Then all eyes focused on sister-in-law. She jumped up and stormed out of the house (saying something unprintable under her breath). My husband apologized to the boyfriend, since he had an hour-long drive home with her ahead of him. Boyfriend just chuckled and said that it would be okay, at least he’d have some peace and quiet. I have no way of knowing what transpired on the trip home, but not too long after that sister-in-law and boyfriend broke up.